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What CEOs want from the CIO and IT

What CEOs want from the CIO and IT

Rumors of IT’s imminent and expedient demise as a business unit may have been greatly exaggerated, but that’s not to say that the individuals don’t need to evolve. Organizatins are making the move to the cloud, and CEOs are starting to take notice of the technologies needed to grow. This means that to remain relevant, the CIO and IT as a whole will need to embrace new thinking, lest be left behind.

From the Gartner CIO Agenda (Flip Technology, Value, and People Leadership Styles) to the McKinsey and Co. study that found that CIOs need to strive for business-strategy partner status to the PwC survey that found that CEOs are demanding an organization’s digital transformation; CIOs have a task at hand:

  • Embrace change
  • Lead the business transformation
  • Unlock Data Possibilities

All of this to remain relevant in the c-suite.

To help you take charge, we have compiled a brief guide for CIOs and IT professionals looking to not only keep a job in 2016 and beyond, but to thrive in your role for years to come.

Embrace the Digital Transformation

CEOs want it, end users want it, do you want it? According to the 18th Annual PwC CEO Survey, which interviewed 1,322 CEOs in 77 countries, digital transformation has been a challenge and an opportunity for businesses across the globe.

Digitization has blurred or even eliminated rigid industry boundaries starting with the media, content, and communications industries and now spreading everywhere. The new digital business world has no pre-defined boundaries, no industry-based rules or limitations.

With businesses entering new sectors or sub sectors at a rapid rate, everything from customer engagement to big data must be considered. According to the survey, CEOs wanted the following technologies to push growth and diversification:

  • Mobile technologies for customer engagement (81%)
  • Data mining and analysis (80%)
  • Cyber security (78%)
  • The Internet of Things (65%)
  • Socially enabled business processes (61%)
  • Cloud computing (60%)

Will you be able to provide insight and help lead the company’s implementation of these? If you as a CIO can lead the digital shift, you can solidify your seat at the table. For the full survey results, click here.

Act as a Business Strategy Partner

When CIOs play an active role in business strategy, IT performance on a wide range of functional and business tasks improves. But in McKinsey’s latest survey on business technology, few executives say their IT leaders are closely involved in helping shape the strategic agenda, and confidence in IT’s ability to support growth and other business goals is waning.

According to the survey, the perception of IT is decidedly negative, just one-third or less of respondents say their IT functions are very or extremely effective at a wide range of tasks.

Naufal Khan, partner in McKinsey’s Chicago office and an author of the report, had this to say about how CIOs and IT can become relevant and forward-looking:

“Some CIOs simply don’t have the skills to transition from being a service provider to shaping the strategic future of the company. But for those CIOs who do have the skills and really want to make that leap, they may have to start communicating priorities clearly with the business, For example, reducing IT costs is one of the top three priorities for IT executives who were surveyed by McKinsey, but it’s one of the bottom three priorities for business executives.”

This highlights a major discrepancy in executive demand and CIO supply. So what can be done to bring IT to the future?

  • Establish Budget Transparency: Sit down with leaders, set priorities with them. The CIO needs to also actively market how the IT department is driving value in terms that business can understand
  • Communicate Complex Metrics in Understandable Terms: Talk in the language of the CEO. Communicate technical metrics such as the number or outages or service desk calls completed to business-related metrics such as revenue and productivity.
  • Establish Relationships with Existing Business Units: Conduct regular meetings with executives in different lines of business to get a better understanding of their needs.

For the full survey, click here.

This advice was echoed by Accenture in its recent study targeted to new or future CIOs. Titled “Go Live on Day One: The Path to Success as a New CIO,”  this survey highlighted the skills and business acumen that it will take to ramp up as a CIO in the future.

How Will You Lead Your Organization?

Again, communication, transparency, and new technology will all assist you in leading the digital transformation of your business, preventing you from losing the position to the CTO or to an unfortunate downsizing.

We’ve compiled the following resources for CIOs looking to lead the digital transformation, solidify relevance, and ultimately thrive in the future:

Be sure to download our guide to CIO Advisory Services, and when you’re ready to lead the change, contact us to learn more.


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